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Recovering Injury Compensation for California Train Accidents

Posted by Dmitry Gorin | Mar 20, 2021

Train crashes are more common than most people think and many accidents occur when vehicles stall or were intentionally left on the railroad tracks.

Often, locomotive operators get distracted or there are equipment problems. Other train crashes occur due to conflicting signals at road crossings over rail lines.

Recovering Injury Compensation for California Train Accidents
If you are injured in a train accident, you could be eligible to receive financial compensation.

When a train crash occurs, the physical, emotional and financial toll on the victims and their families are often severe.

Fortunately, there are state and federal laws that offer some recovery for injured victims, so the responsible parties for the wreck will have to cover the costs of their actions.

Public trains, light rails, and similar rail-based systems offer hundreds of thousands of Californians reliable, affordable, and environmental transportation.

As high-speed rail comes to California, that too will provide improved transportation and increased mobility to the more than 23 million individuals living in Southern California.

However, as with any vehicular-based transportation, railway accidents can pose a significant risk, especially when accidents occur.

Although rail-based transportation can be much safer than other forms of transportation, the potential damage can be catastrophic because of their size.

If you or someone you love was injured or killed in a Los Angeles train accident or a trash crash in Southern California, you deserve justice and compensation for what you've endured and lost.

California Train Crash Statistics

To serve its residents, Southern California has various rail-based providers, from:

  • Amtrak,
  • Metro Rail, and
  • Metrolink.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration report that a person or vehicle is struck by a train every three hours.

And, for 2020, according to the Federal Railroad Association, there were more than 600 California train injury accidents.

Of those 600 accidents, nearly 200 of them (184) were fatal. That's roughly a 30% rate of fatality, even in a year where much of the nation was traveling less due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Common Causes of Train Accidents

There is a wide range of possible causes for train accidents, which means that depending on the cause, the responsible party may change.

Here are some examples of what might cause a train accident:

  • collisions with other trains, cars, cyclists, buses, or pedestrians;
  • derailment;
  • mechanical failure due to faulty parts or poor maintenance;
  • exhausted, intoxicated, or distracted operator, engineer, or conductor;
  • cargo spills;
  • faulty signals or a failure of the guardrail at a crossing;
  • criminal attacks;
  • overloaded train cars;
  • slips and falls.

The  Department of Transportation reports that most train accidents that result in injuries take place at railroad crossings.

Whether the accident is a result of action, or negligence, on the part of the rail carrier, the manufacturer, or an individual, you may have a legal right to pursue compensation.

Common Injuries Associated with a Train Crash

Trains can weigh several tons, and consequently, even if they are not traveling incredibly fast, they can cause fatal accidents.  

People who survive train crashes often sustain injuries that can range from moderate to severe, including:

Who's Responsible for the Train Accident?

The responsible party for a train accident will depend on what caused the accident.

Who’s Responsible for the Train Accident?
There are several possible parties that could be held responsible for injures in a train accident.

However, it's possible that any of the following could have affected the situation:

  • train company,
  • track owner,
  • operator/engineer/conductor of the train,
  • equipment manufacturers,
  • another driver.

It's important to know that according to Federal law, the liability cap is $200 million for passenger rail cases.

This does not vary, regardless of how many people were injured or the level of negligence.

Do You Need a California Personal Injury Attorney for a Train Accident?

With something as complex and complicated as a train accident, it's critical that you retain a skilled personal injury attorney who can look out for your best interests.

The other parties involved will have attorneys to do so for them, and choosing to go without one could drastically impact your compensation.

When considering an injury case, a personal injury attorney will help you calculate the potential case value for any compensation and expenses you are due.

Additionally, you want to ensure that you speak with an attorney in a timely fashion.

Generally, the statute of limitations (the amount of time to file a case) is two years in California; however, if your case involves a government entity, that window drops down to six months for the most part.

What Can I Recover in a Train Accident Case?

When a train accident happens and you are injured, you might be able to obtain money damages to compensate you for your losses.

Recovering damages could help pay for the services and needs of the victim and their family.

Every train crash is different, meaning victims loses and injuries are also unique, and the available recoverable damages will always vary from case to case.

Our California train accident injury lawyers can assist you in seeking damages for the following:

  • medical bills and rehabilitation,
  • lost wages and earning capacity,
  • pain and suffering,
  • long-term medical care,
  • wrongful death.

Due to the fact that evidence could be lost soon after the accident, you need to consult with our personal injury law firm as soon as possible.

Train Accident Attorney for Los Angeles and Surrounding Counties 

If you have experienced a train accident and sustained injuries or lost a family member, it's important that you contact a personal injury lawyer.

California Personal Injury Attorney for a Train Accident
Contact our office to discuss all the details of your case.

California has strict rules around statutes of limitations, and you want someone who can advocate for you and your loved ones during this challenging time.

We can help you identify all possible responsible parties, preserve evidence, use experts to prove the case, negotiate with the insurance company, train company and government entities to recover a fair settlement.

Injury Justice Law Firm is a top-rated personal injury law firm representing victims of negligence throughout Southern California.

Our main office is located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County.

If you or a family member was injured in a train accident, contact our office for a free case consultation at (818) 781-1570.

About the Author

Dmitry Gorin

Dmitry Gorin is a licensed attorney, who has been involved in criminal trial work and pretrial litigation since 1994. Before becoming partner in Eisner Gorin LLP, Mr. Gorin was a Senior Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles Courts for more than ten years. As a criminal tri...


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